My right ear was plugged up, and I had a two hour singing rehearsal in front of me. I grabbed my chorus bag, my iced tea, some recycle bags and my jacket and headed out the door.
I’ll stop at CVS on the way and pick up some Sudafed, so I can hear tonight.
When I got to the drugstore, I reached for my purse, and it wasn’t there. I’d left it at home.
Crap! Wait! I have quarters for the parking meter.
I dug through my cup holder where I kept some change. I counted seven dollars’ worth and headed inside.
The pick-up line for the pharmacy was six deep. I asked at the drop-off window how much the Sudafed would be, explaining that I’d forgotten my purse. The pharmacist said $7.25 for generic.
I went back to my car to get another dollar’s worth of dimes and came back in. Now the pharmacy pick-up line was seven deep.
The guy in front of me chatted me up as I wiped the goo off the quarters onto my new jeans. The coins had had something spilled on them while living in the cup holder.
The guy ahead of me was talking about his wife and how she owned every inch of him –pretty intimate stuff to tell a strange woman behind you who is wiping coins on her pants.
He went on to say that his wife had 51% of the vote on everything, and that he was smart enough to go along with that.
“How long have you been married?” I asked as we killed time.
“Oh, we’re not married,” he said.
“Next?” the counter help said, and he waved good-bye to me.
When it was my turn I laid out all the quarters in seven neat rows, followed by a row of dimes, while a different clerk went to fetch the generic Sudafed.
“May I see you ID, please?” she asked when she came back.
“I don’t have it,” I said. “I told the other clerk I left my purse at home.”
“We can’t sell this to you without ID.”
“How about if I get my car registration?”
“No, we’d get in trouble.”
“We’ll hold it for you while you go home to get your purse,” the other clerk said.
I can’t go home. I have rehearsal!
I gathered up my coins and turned to the long row of people waiting their turn.
“Of course you can’t sell me the Sudafed,” I said to everyone. “I might use it in my meth lab.”
As I was passing the people in line, two of them offered to buy it for me.
Then the friendly guy came up and said, “Don’t let them see you guys talking, or they’ll deny you the drugs.”
The big guy in the Navy sweatshirt told the tall woman with blond hair that he’d buy the Sudafed. I wandered up to the front of the store where an overzealous employee kept asking me if I need help. Then I wandered out front to wait, only to be met by the friendly guy whose girlfriend owned every inch of him. He pointed to the opal ring on the 4th finger of my left hand.
“That’s your anti-trust ring?” he asked. “You’re single?”
He told me to go on Zoosk to find a date, how to talk to someone ten times, and then meet for coffee.
“I know,” I said. “I have a blog called First Date, Worst Date Ever.”
We chatted about his bad dates after that. Regular stuff, like the heavy woman in Spandex with just a head shot on her profile, and the one who did her medicinal marijuana round the clock.
I waited there with my hand full of quarters, feeling like a drug dealer. Finally the guy in the Navy sweatshirt came out and handed me the drugs. I thanked him and gave him the warm quarters and dimes. We waved to his wife, who had waited in the car and was looking perplexed.
“You’ve got some ‘splaining to do,” I said.
“It’s okay,” he said. “She’s a nurse.”
I drove to chorus and took my drugs. My ear unplugged, and I had a good rehearsal. I even got a blog post out of the deal.
There are still good people out there — at least on a Tuesday night at the Blackhawk CVS. They were fighting over who got to help me.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If I would’ve remembered my purse, none of his would’ve happened.
Thanks, Dean, for your stories. Thanks, Navy guy, for your kindness. Thank you, tall blond woman who got cut out of the drug deal, even though you offered first.